Sephora is a French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products with nearly 340 brands,[3] along with its own private label, Sephora Collection, and includes beauty products such as cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, nail color, beauty tools, body lotions, and haircare.

Sephora SA
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1969; 55 years ago (1969) in Paris, France[1]
Headquarters41 Rue Ybry, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
47°08′30″N 2°15′35″E / 47.141791°N 2.2598276°E / 47.141791; 2.2598276
Number of locations
2,600+ stores[1]
Areas served
34 countries worldwide
Key people
Guillaume Motte (CEO)
RevenueIncreaseOver US$10 billion (2019) (estimated)[2]

The company was founded in Limoges in 1969[4] and is currently based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.[5] Sephora is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH as of 1996.[6][7] The name comes from the Greek word meaning beauty, sephos, and the Greek spelling of Zipporah (Greek: Σεπφώρα, Sepphōra), wife of Moses.[8]

History edit

Sephora, Passage du Havre, Paris

Sephora was first launched in Paris in August 1970. It was acquired by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1993, who merged the purchase with his own perfume chain under the Sephora brand. Mandonnaud is credited for designing and executing Sephora's "assisted self-service" sales experience, which separated itself from standard retail models for cosmetics by encouraging customers (girls and women) to test products in retail locations before purchasing.[9][10]

Mandonnaud continued to expand the Sephora brand through the 1990s, opening up its flagship store in Champs Élysées in 1997. In July 1997, Mandonnaud and his partners sold Sephora to LVMH, who expanded the stores globally and bolstered the chain's products to include beauty and cosmetic products.[6] Sephora extended its operation to the Middle Eastern markets in 2007 and has opened over 44 Sephora UAE and KSA stores as well as an ecommerce store.[11][12] It extends its partnership with its exclusive brands in the region.[11]

Artemis Patrick replaced Jean-André Rougeot as president and chief executive officer of Sephora Americas.[when?]

Sephora opened its first United States store in New York City in 1998, its first Canadian store in Toronto in 2004, and the first Australian Sephora store in 2014.[13][14] Its North American headquarters is located in New York City, with corporate offices in San Francisco and Montréal. Sephora currently operates over 430 stores across North America.[15]

Sephora in Union Station, Toronto, Ontario

On 26 August 2016, Sephora opened its 400th location in North America on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The store was the city's new flagship location.[16]

On 31 March 2017, Sephora opened its largest retail location in North America near Herald Square in New York City. The store is approximately 11,380 square feet and features over 13,000 products. It's one of six Sephora TIP Workshop locations, with interactive services and tools, in North America; the others include San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Santa Clara Valley, and Toronto.[17][18][19]

On 19 November 2018, Sephora signed a long-term lease at Thor Equities’ Town Square Metepec, a new retail and entertainment center in Mexico totaling 1.7 million square feet.[20]

In April 2019, R&B singer SZA accused the store of racial profiling. On May 23, 2019, Sephora announced they would be closing all locations on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, to hold diversity training for its staff.[21] However, the staff training was a part of their "We Belong To Something Beautiful Campaign" and not the accusations from the singer.[citation needed] The planning and training for this campaign began in late 2019.[citation needed]

On July 26, 2021, Sephora agreed with Palamon Capital Partners the purchase of,[22] a UK online retailer of prestige beauty goods founded in 2005, with 1.3 million active customers from 120 countries and more than 35,000 products from over 800 brands.[23] It had been acquired from Palamon Capital Partners for £26 million in 2012.[24] The price was rumored to be £132 million.[25]

Operations edit

Sephora launched its online store in the U.S. in 1999 and in Canada in 2003.[13] The Canadian head office was opened in February 2007 by Marie-Christine Marchives, a former Sephora U.S. and Sephora France employee. Marie-Christine Marchives returned to France in July 2010 to become the general manager of Sephora France. She was replaced in Canada by Klaus Ryum-Larsen. Sephora currently operates over 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide,[26] generating over an estimated $4 billion in revenue as of 2013.[6][27] As of September 2013, the Sephora at Champs Élysées in Paris, France, attracts over six million people a year.[28] Afterpay and Sephora partnered to offer its customers the flexibility to pay in four installments on July 13, 2022.[29]

Sephora Canada opened its 100th store in Canada on November 2022.[30]

In 2024, Sephora confirmed the opening of its fourth UK store at Newcastle's Eldon Square shopping centre.[31]

Sephora storefront in Dalma Mall

Brands edit

Sephora features a variety of beauty products from more than 300 brands, including Tatcha,[32] Huda Beauty, Kat Von D, and Bobbi Brown, and Coto Beauty Cosmetics.[33] Sephora also features its own make-up, skincare, beauty tools and accessories under the brand name Sephora Collection. Packaging for the line previously featured the company's elongated flame logo in standard black print. The new logo features the updated "Sephora Quality, Really Good Price" logo with the $ sign.

In 2013, the company included fragrance collections from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, known as Elizabeth and James, and a makeup line with Marc Jacobs.[34] In June 2020, Maddie Ziegler's imagination collection collaborated with Morphe, launched in Sephora Canada.[35] In 2023, Sephora became the first retailer of feminine hygiene and cosmetic product Luna Daily in the United States.[36][37]

Sephora inside JCPenney edit

In October 2006, Sephora began opening stores inside JCPenney. Sephora inside JCPenney features some of the same makeup, skincare, and fragrance brands as well as its own product line found in stand alone stores nationwide. Sephora inside JCPenney stores are much smaller than a normal store, usually 1,500 sq ft in size.[38] As of 2017, there were more than 600 Sephora locations in JCPenney stores across the US.[6][39][26] That same year, JC Penney announced the closing of 138 stores nationwide, several of which house a Sephora in JCPenney store.[40]

Sephora inside Kohl's edit

In December 2020, Sephora announced that it would begin opening Sephora stores inside Kohl's locations. The announcement included plans to launch Sephora at 850 Kohl's stores by 2023.[41] The first four Sephora inside Kohl's locations opened on August 6, 2021.[42]

Subscription service edit

In August 2015, it was announced that Sephora would launch a subscription service: Play! By Sephora. The monthly subscription service offers boxes containing sample size products for a monthly fee.[43] Boston, Columbus, and Cincinnati were the only three cities to test the initial service launch in September 2015. The service was launched throughout the US in 2016.[44]

For $10 USD billed monthly, each month’s box is a collectable bag that changes each month with five deluxe skincare, makeup, or haircare samples. Each box includes a selection of products based on answers provided by the customer in PLAY! profile.[45]

Sephora terminated PLAY! in April 2020, replacing it with Sephora Luxe. Like Play!, Luxe gives the opportunity to sample products, but Luxe is ordered monthly and is not a subscription service.

Sephora UAE and KSA edit

Sephora UAE and KSA are regional subdivisions of Sephora. The Middle East head office was opened in February 2006 by Pierre Fayard. Since 2007, over 30 separate Sephora stores have opened across the Middle East region (UAE, KSA, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait). Sephora UAE and KSA provide make up and skincare products from notable brands such as Christian Dior, Laura Mercier and Kat Von D[46][47] in a high tech contemporary retail environment.[48] Sephora’s first Middle East store opened at Seef Mall in Bahrain on 7 January 2007 followed by Festival City, UAE on 1 March 2007 with a further 30 stores opening across the region since.[46] The Sephora store in the Dubai Mall opened in December 2008 and is now[when?] ranked as the company’s number one store worldwide. In 2007, the late Sephora CEO, Jacques Levy expressed a desire to have 100 stores open across the region by 2010. A year later the international financial crisis derailed these ambitions. Levy stepped down in 2011 and died a year later.[49] Despite this early setback Sephora have opened more than 30 more stores and introduced online shopping to the region in November 2016.[50][51] In December 2017, Sephora opened ‘Gifts Beauty Park, the world's first beauty Festive playground in Dubai.[52] The pop-up store featured fairground and makeup themed games and invited shoppers to sit down with professional Sephora makeup artists to experience the products.[52] In March 2018, Guillaume Motte was announced as the new president of Sephora Europe and Middle East.[53]

Products edit

Sephora’s Middle East stores stock internationally renowned products by the like of Estée Lauder and subsidiary Clinique, alongside local brands such as Shiffa Dubai Skin Care and Huda Beauty.[54] According to Forbes, Huda Beauty, founded by Dubai based blogger and business woman Huda Kattan, was the top selling cosmetic brand across Sephora Middle East, in 2018.[55]

Applications edit

In 2016, Sephora launched its own all access tablet and smartphone application Designed "made manifest" by Dennis Hornstra, a software and application designer for Apple. It can be seen as an augmented reality platform. Pocket Contour, one of the digital programs that was rolled out, teaches users how to contour their skin step-by-step depending on their face shape.[56] By uploading a photo, the user can receive a virtual makeover, experimenting with different product and shade combinations.[57][58][59]

Acquisitions edit

In 2000, purchased the assets of for "high six-figures".[60]

Lawsuits edit

On 18 November 2014, four customers filed a class action lawsuit against Sephora.[61] The suit alleges that Sephora engaged in racial discrimination by wrongfully deactivating the customer rewards accounts of Asian customers under the pretense that these customers were buying products from Sephora in bulk and reselling them.[62][63] Sephora identified accounts to deactivate by looking at email domains from (owned by Tencent),, or (both owned by NetEase).[64]

Environmental record edit

Sephora’s sustainable development initiatives were recognized in December 2015.[65] The company received the Sustainable Brand label, as well as the 2015 R Award for eco-design by the Génération Responsible association. Global Cosmetic News reported that Sephora's newly launched display cases have a 30% lighter metal frame that will reduce CO2 emissions by 220 metric tons.[66]

In 2020, Sephora announced it would no longer carry eyelashes made of mink fur, which has been shown to come from farms where animals are mistreated. The company said it was compelled by concerned customers and a PETA campaign to sell only synthetic lashes.[67]

Social responsibility edit

In June 2020, Sephora announced that it would take the 15 Percent Pledge, pledging to fill 15 percent of their shelf space with Black-owned businesses.[68]

Awards and honors edit

In 2010, Women's Wear Daily named Sephora the specialty retailer of the year.[69][70]

In March 2018, FastCompany named Sephora to the number 36 spot (of 50) on their list of "World’s Most Innovative Companies", citing its expanded offering of broadly diverse and inclusive product lines like Fenty Beauty.[71]

On July 11, 2023, Forbes announced Sephora's ranking as number 24 (of 150) on Canda's Best Employees For Diversity list. At the time, Sephora's retail stores in Canada had 46,000 employees.

In January 2024, Sephora was honored at the 2024 Catalyst Award Conference for its efforts to catalyze diversity, equality, and inclusion.[72][73]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "About Sephora".
  2. ^ "2019 Financials". 28 January 2020.
  3. ^ Wood Rudolph, Heather (19 February 2015). "Interview Insider: How to Get Hired at Sephora". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  4. ^ Tungate, Mark (2011). Branded Beauty: How Marketing Changed the Way We Look. Kogan Page. p. 188. ISBN 9780749461812.
  5. ^ Parsons, Sarah (27 November 2017). "A sneak peek inside Sephora's new international head office". Cosmetics Business. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Loeb, Walter. "Sephora: Department Stores Cannot Stop Its Global Growth". Forbes. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  7. ^ Born, Pete (24 October 2013). "Calvin McDonald Named CEO of Sephora Americas". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  8. ^ Sephora facts
  9. ^ "Sephora Holdings S.A. – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Sephora Holdings S.A." References for Business. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  10. ^ "The Sephora Saga". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Online Shopping In The UAE Is About To Get A Lot Better..." Emirates Woman. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  12. ^ "Sephora Reveal The Best-Selling Beauty Products In The Middle East". Harpers Bazaar Arabia. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  13. ^ a b "About Sephora". Sephora. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Sephora". New York. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
  15. ^ "About Us | Sephora". Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Sephora's Magnificent Mile store has new, high-tech look". Chicago Tribune. 26 August 2016.
  17. ^ Panych, Sophia. "10 Hacks for Shopping the Largest Sephora in the United States". Allure. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  18. ^ Strugatz, Rachel (3 April 2017). "Experience Matters: Sephora Goes Bigger on 34th Street". WWD. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  19. ^ Zoldan, Rachel Jacoby. "Sephora Just Opened Its Biggest Store Ever, and It's Truly Insane". Glamour. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Sephora signs lease at Thor Equities' Town Square Metepec in Mexico". propertyfundsworld. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  21. ^ Hollie Silverman, "SZA accusation prompts Sephora to close all locations Wednesday for diversity training", CNN, June 3rd, 2019
  22. ^ Conti, Samantha (18 July 2021). "Sephora Poised to Buy Britain's Report". MSN.
  23. ^ "Sephora Acquires Feelunique". 26 July 2021.
  24. ^ Nazir, Sahar (18 July 2021). "Sephora Agrees £132m Takeover Bid For Feelunique As It Eyes UK market". Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  25. ^ "Sephora Confirms Purchase of Online Beauty Eetailer Feelunique". 26 July 2021.
  26. ^ a b "As Ulta Looks Prettier, Sephora Sharpens Tech Edge". Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  27. ^ " About Us". Sephora. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  28. ^ MASIDLOVER, NADYA. "Paris Casts A Shadow Over Hours at Sephora". The Wall Street Journal.
  29. ^ "Afterpay and Sephora Partner to Make Prestige Beauty Accessible to More Customers – Sephora Newsroom". Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  30. ^ Sephora. "Sephora Canada marks milestone 100th store opening in Winnipeg, Manitoba with $100,000 donation to Native Women's Association of Canada and celebrations from coast-to-coast". Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  31. ^ "Sephora chooses Newcastle for fourth UK store". Cosmetics Business. Retrieved 25 March 2024.
  32. ^ "TATCHA Skin Care". Sephora. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  33. ^ "Kat Von D Beauty is launching a new program with Sephora that will allow you to snag new products before they hit stores". HelloGiggles. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  34. ^ "Beauty Boom: Is Sephora Becoming High Fashion's Next Target?". Time. 9 January 2013.
  35. ^ "Morphe x Maddie Ziegler The Imagination Collection | NEW & Exclusive Launch 2020". 22 June 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  36. ^ "Luna Daily enters the U.S., secures $3.7 million investment". Retrieved 26 December 2023.
  37. ^ "FUNDRAISINGIntimate female care brand Luna Daily raises £3m as it launches into the US". The Grocer. Retrieved 26 December 2023.
  38. ^ "About Us | Sephora". Sephora. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  39. ^ "Sephora inside jcp". Sephora.
  40. ^ Wahba, Phil. "J.C. Penney Is Closing These 138 Stores This Spring". Fortune.
  41. ^ Thomas, Lauren (1 December 2020). "Sephora will open mini shops inside 850 Kohl's stores by 2023, as retailer bets big on beauty". CNBC. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  42. ^ Tyko, Kelly. "Sephora at Kohl's locations are opening. See which stores are getting a makeover and when". USA TODAY. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  43. ^ Novellino, Teresa. "Birchbox is about to meet a French foe: Sephora". Biz Journals. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  44. ^ Malamut, Melissa. "Boston Is One of Three Test Cities for the New Sephora Box". Boston. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  45. ^ "Sign up for Play! By Sephora - Monthly Beauty Subscription Box". Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  46. ^ a b "About Us | Sephora UAE". Sephora. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  47. ^ "Buy Brands Online | Sephora UAE". Sephora. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  48. ^ "SEPHORA – 2point0 Concepts". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  49. ^ "Sephora expands in Middle East with new stores across GCC". Gulf Business. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  50. ^ "Sephora's Coming: Online Shopping In UAE Is About To Get Better". Emirates Woman. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  51. ^ "You Can Now Shop SEPHORA Online In The UAE!". ewmoda. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  52. ^ a b "Sephora UAE Launched Gifts Beauty Park at City Walk Dubai | insydo". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  53. ^ "Guillaume Motte to become President of Sephora Europe and Middle East". EPCnews - European Perfumery and Cosmetics NEWS. 11 January 2018. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  54. ^ "Inside Huda Kattan's Blog-to-Brand Beauty Empire". The Business of Fashion. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  55. ^ Sorvino, Chloe. "How Huda Kattan Built A Billion-Dollar Cosmetics Brand With 26 Million Followers". Forbes. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  56. ^ "How Sephora Reinvented the Beauty Industry". 13 December 2019. Archived from the original on 29 January 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  57. ^ "Sephora Updates Its Digital Beauty Makeover App |". 8 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  58. ^ Caldwell, Georgina. "Sephora updates Virtual Artist app to include blush and contour shades". Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  59. ^ "Sephora Using Mobile Across Entire Customer Journey". Multichannel Merchant. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  60. ^ Miles, Stephanie. " Buys Assets of Defunct E-Tailer". The Wall Street Journal.
  61. ^ "Sephora discriminated against Asian customers, lawsuit claims". Reuters. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  62. ^ "Civil Complaint" (PDF). PacerMonitor. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  63. ^ "Sephora Class Action Lawsuit". Sephora Class Action Lawsuit. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  64. ^ "COURT-AUTHORIZED NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT". Sephora Community. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  65. ^ "Sephora receives Responsible Brand label and 2015 R Award for eco-design". LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  66. ^ Miles, Louise Prance. "Sephora honored for sustainable development initiatives with eco award". Global Cosmetic News. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  67. ^ Nicola Dall'Asen,"Sephora Will Phase Mink Fur False Eyelashes Out of Its Stores," Allure 30 June 2020.
  68. ^ Pledged Companies - 15 Percent Pledge
  69. ^ "WWD 2011 Beauty Inc Awards: Retailer of the Year". Women's Wear Daily. 8 December 2011.
  70. ^ Hamilton, Anita (4 January 2012). "How an Upstart Beauty Company Broke into the Big Leagues". Time.
  71. ^ "Sephora Is Bringing Shade To The Make-Up Industry". Fast Company. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  72. ^ "Sephora, Zoetis Win 2024 Catalyst Award for Inclusive Workplaces". The Global Woman Leader. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  73. ^ "2024 Catalyst Award Winners to Be Honored at Annual Gender Equity Conference and Dinner". Catalyst. Retrieved 29 January 2024.

External links edit